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SWELC Infant and Toddler Center
In June 2009, the only daycare available in Shawnee for Infants and Toddlers closed it’s doors. In response to the need we heard from the community, Community UMC opened the SWELC Infant and Toddler Center at the location of the former “Golden Bridge School” building in the business park across from the Shawnee Campus. A new building was made necessary due to a lack of space at the Shawnee Campus, and state regulations which require that infant and toddler facilities need to have a “ground floor exit” (or, an exit without steps, which we could not provide given our split-level Education Wing).
The SWELC Infant and Toddler Center is being leased at the actual cost from Shawnee Wesleyan LLC, a private corporation sympathetic to our congregation’s mission to serve our community. Over a fifteen year period this building, currently valued at $415,000, will be gifted to Community UMC. Repairs and renovation (which had been vacant for 9 years) were paid for by a combination of the SWELC direct funding, our General Fund, and a loan to the SWELC from our foundation at a total cost of about $95,000. No new mortgage debt of any kind was incurred by Community UMC to complete this project.
This venture, which now serves more than 90 children and their families, became self-sustaining in March 2011. Repayment of the loan to the Community UMC General Fund began in October 2011. The SWELC Infant and Toddler Center is already an area leader in care, and proudly employs 14 full-time and part-time teachers and caregivers.
The Bath Campus was the product of more than a year of discussion and prayer, resulting in a vote to merge the former Bluelick UMC (our current Bath Campus) with Shawnee UMC in March 2011. The merger was made complete January 1, 2012 when ownership of the property was transferred to Community UMC, and Charlotte Hefner, a long-time associate pastor at Shawnee UMC, was deployed as the Bath Campus’ as the new Site Pastor.
More than $300,000 has been invested in a total renovation of the Bath Campus since January 2011. This was deemed necessary to make the former Bluelick UMC building both safe and inviting after more than 40 years of insufficient maintenance and updates. This involved foundation repair, porch repair, basement waterproofing, new windows throughout the complex, a new hospitality area, new nursery, new handicapped accessible bathrooms, carpeting and paint throughout the building, new central air-conditioning, boiler replacement, electrical updates, expansion and repair of the parking lot, and a new sound system in the Sanctuary (whew!).
This project has been completed to date without the addition of any additional financed debt. This has been made possible by the generosity of Community UMC, which to date has raised $180,000 in a two-year capital campaign (an additional $45,000 is anticipated in 2012) for repairs on both campuses and a $60,000 grant from the Northwest Plains District Trustees.
The beautiful Bath Campus to date has been averaging more than 85 people in worship weekly since January 1, which is a five-fold increase from Blue Lick UMC’s attendance in 2010. In addition, the transfer of numerous “Pioneer Evangelists” from the morning services at the Shawnee Campus, which initially created a dip in attendance, is slowly being rectified as that campus also continues to grow.
Shawnee Campus Repair and Renovation
As a part of our two year Bigger Footprint Capital Campaign, $250,000 of needed repairs and improvements were made to the Shawnee Campus building. This involved new tile (replacing the original tile laid more than 50 years ago), paint, and lighting in the Office and Education wing hallways. In addition the Office wing restrooms (used principally by the children of the SWELC) were updated, the gutters on the Education wing replaced and numerous roof repairs throughout the building made. We replaced the old speakers and microphones, while moving the sound boards down on the floor of the Centrum. We also replaced the carpet on that Centrum floor. We also posted new signage throughout the building, added electronic registration for our BLAST ministry, and a new coffee bar in the Commons. Once again, no new debt was financed for the completion of this project.
Community UMC’s Mortgage and Debt
Our Centrum addition, which was completed in 2001, was completed at a cost of about two-million dollars. Currently the mortgage from this project, which now amounts to less than $160,000(financed at 3%), is our only debt. This debt has not been increased since the first mortgage was incurred in 2003. Since 2005, we aggressively began paying this debt down resulting in a $460,000 decrease in our principle over that time period. While we’ve eased up on our aggressiveness as we’ve expanded, we still project being debt free by 2017.